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Sudan Women Alliance (SWA)

Sudan #About SWA #Objectives & Strategies # Get involved#Information's contact

We learn from the lessons of history, and from the experiences of women.. students, housewives, tea and kisra sellers (street vendors), petty traders, farmers, workers, professionals, intellectuals, and female children...each one of us has something to contribute.. our multiple visions provide an alternate to the unitary vision that has dominated throughout our history..we are of you and for you...


Sudan is the largest country in Africa, with an area of almost one million square miles and with population of about 29 million. It has attained its political independence in 1956. Although rich in its natural resources, the country experienced severe economic problems given the mono-crop agricultural base that was left by the colonial rule. The country has also been characterized by huge disparities between its various regions, inhabited by different ethnic and cultural groups; as most development schemes and basic infrastructures have been located in the center.

This has resulted in a war that continues now for almost Thirty years. This war has resulted in huge human and material losses.

The country has been trapped in a vicious cycle of multi-party rule and military dictatorships, the last of which being a military coup waged by the National Islamic Front, that overthrew the democratically elected government and ran the country into political, economic and social chaos, resulting in the intensification of the war in the South, and its extension into other parts of the country, the spread of abject poverty, dangerous health hazards and the displacement and exile of millions of Sudanese citizens. Women had the ‘lion’s share’ of these disasters, given their already vulnerable position in society and given NIF’s gender ideology that relegates women to the position of dependent, second class citizens.

The current regime in Sudan issued the ‘Personal Matters Act’ in 1991. Women’s Associations were all banned, the only permitted women’s organization being ‘The Sudanese Women’s General Union’ created by the government with mainly NIF membership. Women, specifically those not adopting the ideology of NIF have been dismissed from their jobs, specifically those working in the foreign office or in the legal profession. Under the deteriorating economic conditions, women engaged in petty trading to sustain their families are often harassed and beaten by the police. These women are often heads of households in urban poor areas or who escaped the war.

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About SWA

Throughout history, women have played key roles in Sudanese politics and society. These roles have never been acknowledged nor incorporated into written history.

The dominant patriarchal structures have also highly marginalized women and relegated them into the status of social, economic and political dependents. A double burden fell on low income women both in urban and rural areas, as well as women from disadvantaged ethnic and religious groups. All these factors have minimized women’s public and political participation.

Under the current regime in Sudan, women have been subject to job dismissal, displacement, detainment, torture and murder. They have also been negatively affected by the attitude of NIF towards women. Women are experiencing extreme social, economic and political hardship both inside and outside Sudan, but they are engaged in struggle against the current regime, in continuation to the struggle waged by Sudanese women throughout our history.

Sudan Women’s Alliance is a women’s solidarity group which was formed in 1995 with the aim of restoring democracy in Sudan and empowering Sudanese women towards a new Sudan. 

SWA believes that although women’s subordination is related to the dominance of certain socio-economic, political, and cultural relations, structures and institutions, it has its specific importance and cannot be resolved simply by the transformation of these structures.

SWA works in a decentralized, non-hierarchical manner and has several branches both inside and outside Sudan.

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Objectives & Strategies:

1.. Mobilizing women in and outside Sudan, and encouraging their participation on all levels, in fighting the current regime in Sudan and in setting an alternative just and democratic order.

2.. Building women’s leadership capabilities.

3.. Working towards the improvement of the conditions of refugee and displaced women, specifically those heading households; women in war zones and women in the Nuba Mountains who all experience double discrimination: enlightening the international community with the situation of these women and ensuring that necessary relief reaches them.

4.. Special recognition and priority (affirmative action) is given to the social, economic and political participation of women who were historically disadvantaged and hence excluded from any form of participation because of illiteracy, religion, culture, ethnicity or geographic location.

5.. Drawing on the rich heritage of Sudanese women’s struggle in all of its forms.

6.. Networking with women who are / were engaged in similar struggles in other developing countries and learning from their experiences.

7.. Acquainting ourselves with the discourses and struggles of the international feminist movement(s), towards crystallizing a feminist vision that stems from our needs and that is based on the specific conditions in our country.

8.. We stand in respect and appreciation for all martyrs, and special recognition and assistance is provided for families of martyrs and of detained activists. 

9.. Restructuring ‘national consciousness’ so that women would be considered as full human beings entitled to equal socio-economic, cultural and citizenship rights.

10.. Sign, ratify and implement all UN human rights conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.

11.. In Sudanese cultures, there are true values, but also worn-out traditions (negatively affecting women) that are often considered as one entity. It is vital to untie the links between true values and worn-out traditions, affirming the former towards the emancipation of Sudanese women.

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Activities & Fields of Action


SWA undertakes a number of activities in and outside Sudan. Below are some of our public activities:


a.. Al-Taya, Newsletter.

b.. SWA booklets, “Sudanese Issues in Beijing’, October 1995.


Organizing public seminars and campaigns, issuing releases and petitions, enlightening the International community with the situation in Sudan.

Seminars and celebrations (in Egypt):

3.. ‘Towards the empowerment of Sudanese Displaced Women’ part of SWA celebration of International Women’s Day , 1995 (with African Studies).

4.. ‘Home, Exile and the Sudanese Child’. (with African Studies, American University)  

5.. ‘Sudanese Women: Past, Present and Future’, November 1996. 

6.. Celebrating Women’s International Day and Child’s International Day, 1996, 1997, 1998.

7.. ‘Sudanese Women and Struggle’, Talk and Campaign on Women’s International Day in Manchester, 1997.

Needs Assessments and Fund-raising campaigns

Organized to support disadvantaged women in and outside Sudan; SWA activities, and Sudanese freedom fighters.

Networking with Sudanese; regional and international women’s organizations.

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How to get involved:

  • Membership is open to any Sudanese woman who believes in the principles and objectives of SWA and who gets recommended by two of SWA founding members.

  • Honorary(Solidarity) membership is open to any individual who wishes to support Sudanese women’s struggle.

Involvement in relevant SWA campaigns or activities.

  • Moral and/or financial support by supporting our cause and/or providing unconditioned financial assistance.

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For more information, please contact:


c/o Afican Studies, American University in Cairo,

P.o. Box 2511, Cairo, Egypt.


51 Scarsdale Rd. Victoria Park

Manchester M14 5PY, UK


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